Maurice Bernier, second from left, with his Port Alberni team that earned their way to the nationals last year, will be the oldest Special Olympic athlete at the 2020 BC Games in Fort St. John. (PHOTO COURTESY SPECIAL OLYMPICS)

Alberni bowler proves that age is just a number

Maurice Bernier will be the oldest athlete at the Special Olympics nationals in Thunder Bay

A Port Alberni five-pin bowler will be the oldest athlete competing at the Special Olympics nationals this month.

At 74 years old, Port Alberni’s Maurice Bernier has been involved in Special Olympics for the past 25 years. From Feb. 25 to 29, he will be headed to Thunder Bay with his bowling team to compete in the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

READ MORE: Two Port Alberni bowling teams headed to Special Olympics nationals

His Special Olympics Team BC bowling coach Debbie McCooey said that she can’t believe his age.

“He certainly does not act or appear to be 74 years old,” said McCooey in a press release. “He’s still pretty active and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”

Bernier credits his active lifestyle and “all the other young people” at Special Olympics for keeping him young at heart.

McCooey calls Bernier something of a father figure to his teammates.

“The older, more experienced athletes tend to take the younger ones under their wing and just give them a hand, make them feel included and welcome – and Maurice is very much that way,” said McCooey.

“He’s got a wonderful personality. He’s super social and very encouraging to all the other athletes on the team.”

McCooey often records Bernier at practice and uses the video to coach proper technique.

“He’s got a very good throw, a very smooth ball … he’s extending his arm like he’s supposed to, his technique is really good,” she said.

Bernier is proud to be a role model.

“If (other athletes) need help, I’m ready to help them all the time,” he said.

Thunder Bay will be his third National Games competition, so Bernier has also been offering advice to teammates competing at that level for the first time.

“When they tell me they’re nervous, I tell them, ‘Just pretend like you’re in Port Alberni, and bowl like you do there … you’ll do great,’” he said.

“I was scared and worried before when I started, I got over it and I bowled a lot better than I thought, so why worry? Just go and have fun.”

Bernier, of course, practices what he preaches: his goal for Thunder Bay is to simply do his best – and keep up with the younger athletes “and beat them if I can,” he added with a laugh.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictPort AlberniSpecial Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Maurice, left, high fives his teammate. (PHOTO COURTESY SPECIAL OLYMPICS)

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s Lauren Spencer-Smith advances to American Idol top 20

Teen performs Respect at outdoor concert in Hawaii

Former Alberni Valley Bulldog Eric Margo shows heart on and off ice

Queen’s University Gaels forward blends hockey with humanitarianism

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Woman arrested in Nanaimo after attempted RV break-in with owner inside

Incident happened April 1 in the 700 block of Drake Street

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read